From the Industrial Revolution to Communication Technologies – What is the Next Wave of Innovation?

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Dr. James Bradfield Moody was the last, but far from the least, speaker at the panel session of the opening day of the 2012 World Resources Forum, which included Rocky Mountain Institute Chairman and Chief Scientist Amory Lovins and Yale Professor Thomas Graedel. Many important topics were addressed, from resources efficiency and recycling to societal values. However, being the youngest speaker of the day, Dr. Bradfield Moody, not only connected brilliantly with the audience but he managed to make the boldest prediction about the future.

Dr. Bradfield Moody is presently on a sabbatical from his position as Executive Director, Development at the one of the world’s largest and most diverse global research organisations, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). He is also Australian National Commissioner for UNESCO and on the Advisory Council of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Moreover, the World Economic Forum has named him Young Global Leader. In his book “Sixth’s Wave: How to succeed in a Resource limited world”, he describes how, during the last century, we have seen five waves of innovation transform society, economies and industries. This started with industrial revolution, leading to the current and fifth wave of information and communications technology. Nevertheless, Dr. Bradfield Moody argues that the current wave has reached its peak and that a new wave of innovation is slowly emerging.

His research predicts this sixth wave to be driven by resources efficiency, incorporating numerous changes in production and consumption patterns. One example is the movement from a consumption of products to a consumption of services. Currently, there are distorted incentives between buyers and sellers, for instance, if you buy a new washing machine. You, as a consumer, want it to last as long as possible but the company selling the washing machine to you, has the incentive for the machine to last but a few months after the warranty runs out. However, if a business offers you a service of clothing washing, the company would then have the incentive to produce washing machines that last longer.

To find out more about the Sixth Wave of Innovation please click on the video below.

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